Stopping Scammers: Eyewitness News tests 'fake scam' on a millennial

Published: Nov. 10, 2016 at 10:26 PM CST
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They're young, they're tech-savvy and according to the Better Business Bureau they're more likely to fall for a scam. We're talking about millennials. Last week, Eyewitness News tested a fake scam phone call on two seniors, neither of them fell for it. This week, it was a millennial's turn.

Eyewitness News personal protection expert Joe Schillaci and reporter Emily Griffin sat down with Gina Bullock to talk about her 22-year-old millennial daughter, Alex. Gina helped Emily and Joe set up a time to call Alex and see if they could coax Alex into giving up her personal information. From the get-go, Gina was a little worried about what information her daughter might give up.

"Now that I know what it is, it might scare her," Gina said.

Emily wrote up a fake scam, using common scammer techniques, and Joe dialed up Alex's number. When she picked up, Joe began by telling her he was with the American Fraud Prevention Services (a made-up agency) and that he was calling because of suspicious activity on her bank account.

As soon as Joe told Alex her account had been hacked, she bit.

Joe: "I want to take care of this as quick as I can to keep these charges from going through. So I need to verify some of your information okay?

Alex: "And this is on my debit card with Intrust?"

Joe: "Yeah, I need you to verify the debit card number for me with Intrust?"

Alex: "it's 46** **** **** ****."

Alex handed over her debit card number without hesitation. So, Joe pressed her for more.

Joe: "Okay that's great. And the last three on the back of it?"

Alex: "Um, that's ***."

Joe: "Can you give me your account number to your bank so I can match those numbers up and freeze those charges?"

Alex: "Okay my account number is 4***."

By this point, Alex had given up her debit card number, the security code on the back and her bank account number. It was more than enough for a scammer to take advantage of her, but Joe asked for one more thing.

Joe: "Okay, the last question is social security number?"

Alex: "Wait, I'm sorry I'm not trying to be rude but who are you? I'm giving you a lot of information right now and I don't know."

It was then Alex started seeing the red flags.

Alex: "I don't know, I want to but I just feel weird about it. Last time this happened to me someone from the bank called me, not someone from a different company. I don't know, I have a bad feeling about this."

After she caught on, Emily and Joe told her what they were doing and that the scam wasn't real. Still, Alex's mom couldn't believe how quickly she fell for it.

"She gave you the account number though and the pin on the back," Gina said. "I was shocked she just jumped right to it."

After the phone call, Alex paid Eyewitness News a visit to talk about the "fake scam". She was relieved it wasn't a real scam and thankful to learn about the scare tactics real scammers may use.

"It's smart the way they do it because they get you in and you think 'oh my gosh my bank is in trouble, okay let's get this figured out', and it's so easy to fall into," Alex said.

Even though she stopped at the social security number, Alex realized if this had been a real scam, she would have been a victim.

"I was like wait, I straight up gave him my credit card number, my account number and my security number right off the bat so it made me think wow I really need to be more aware," she said.

Red flags you can look for that will help you spot a scam are things like vagueness. A scammer is often vague about who they are or who they're with. They're also pushy, asking you to act quickly before you have to think it over. They might ask for personal information, which you should never give out over the phone. Finally, they may ask for money up front. It's important to remember you never have to give money to get money.

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